Despite the intermittent rain, the Strikers six NewFM teams took to field over the long weekend .
The highlight was a clash, at Howe Park, against first grade leaders Cooks Hill who came into the game with a five point lead at the top of the table.
And with Singleton’s eight game unbeaten run coming to an end last weekend, they were looking to strike straight back with a positive performance.
Throughout the game the Strikers dominated but the old bogey of lacking a clinical finish in the box returned as the visitors won 2-0.
Mid way through the first half Jackson Cox broke away but was pulled down as he headed to goal.
The livewire mid-fielder regained his feet and took off again but was called back as his opponent was shown a red card.
With the competition leaders down to ten men they shocked the Strikers by taking the lead against the run of play.
That was the score at half time with Singleton still on top.
The second half started as the first had ended with any Cooks Hill attacks well cut out by defenders Jordan Phelan or Jackson Skinner.
As the game wore on an increasingly desperate Strikers team made raid after raid on the visitors it goal.
Nathan Hall broke away only to be denied by an excellent save, a header for a corner hit the bar and then a downward header, that everyone thought was goal-bound bounced over the bar despite the soft conditions.
It started to look as if it was just going to be one of those days, dominance but no goals.
Late in the game with the Strikers only thinking about attacking they lost the ball close to goal and the visitors rounded out a flattering win.
At the after match function, attended by the bus load of Cooks Hill players their coach admitted that the better team had been beaten.
Players Player was Tom Hume, had he taken just one of the chances that fell to the attack he may have won by even more.
The U23 game was notable in that it saw a return to the game, the first in ten years, of former outstanding junior Jarrad Castledine - and a first game for Lachlan Nichols, the latter getting ten minutes in the top grade later in the day.
Cooks Hill who were running second on the table took an early lead before Castledine lobbed the keeper from thirty five meters to restore parity. A far more committed Strikers group gave their all but two further goals gave the visitors a 3-1 win. Castledine was named Players Player.
Showing the strength of the Cooks Hill club it was noted that their 19s were also in second spot but in a far improved performance, one more in tune expectations, the young Strikers held them to a two all draw.
Cooks Hill took a very early lead before Jack Clare made it one all. By half time the visitors had again taken the lead.
A fighting display by Singleton saw Clare add another goal and grab a well deserved point. At the Royal Hotel after the game it was Nick Watson who was able to claim free Cokes from his team mates.
On Saturday Cessnock were the visitors to Howe Park, with both clubs battling towards the bottom of the tables.
The much improved 14s took an early lead when it was decided that a Cessnock player conceded an own goal. Some thought Miles Ewin should have been credited with it. At the other end a long distance shot was just too high for outstanding young keeper Luke Meyn to make the score one all.
Defender Wynston Wegner found himself in the Cessnock box in the second half and was able to slot the ball home for a 2-1 lead. Pushing on to add further goals, older teams would probably have defended what they had, the Singleton defence was caught out allowing Cessnock to grab a point.
The 15s game was one of missed opportunities as Cessnock grabbed three goals in the first half.
In the second half the young Strikers were better in that they did not let the Hornets in again while Charlie O’Bryan, back after injury, scored a consolation goal.
The 17s played out a goal-less draw that they certainly should have won. Both sides found it hard to keep the ball. In the second half Singleton were virtually camped in the Cessnock half but were unable to find the back of the net. Finn McLoughlin had one shot hit the bar.
Next weekend the senior sides travel to Toronto on Sunday while the NewFM younsters at at West Wallsend, also on Sunday.
The Over 35s are also on the road with D grade at Cook Hill and G at Kotara South. The two games at Howe Park will be on Saturday when All Age take on Tenambit at 1.30 and on Sunday the Storm take on West Lakes at 10am.